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Sidereals - New Beginnings - IC Thread

Dice System
Exalted 2.5
OOC
Here
Characters
Here

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
The battle was a moment of elated revelry, a chance for a hero to right some deep injustice blighting the earth, or a means for two parties to resolve a struggle that words and hearts otherwise would not. Looking upon the devil-bought husks of those he once called co-workers and comrades stung, yet not nearly as intense as his wrath. As the witless Akuma spread his threads about the room, Tien reached between the loom itself and stepped between the law and fabric of reality, surging forth with the tenacity of a starved serpent on a fattened hare. The cosmos rippled at his touch, his movements streaked like lighting, arcing at random and impossible trajectories and landing with the heat and force of thunder.

[Alright... Speed 3, Base Accuracy 26, Base Damage 15, Overwhelming 4. Activating Extra Action charm Striking Serpent Speed. Rolling for the number of actions first. Note that all attacks are unexpected from Without Strategy Arrangement and even if he removes the unexpected quality with magic, Flickering Moonsilver Approach inflicts a -2 penalty to DVs. That's 6 Actions at full dice pool I'll resolve the first as a mundane attack. Note that Five Jade Fury counts this as piercing too.

12 Successes on an unexpected piercing attack on Dex, -2 DVs not enough to beat 14 total DV.
Adding Fateful Martial Arts Excellency and Essence Venom Strike for 11m 2w on attack 2. Rolling Damage pool of Base 15, + (26-13 Threshold) + 6 Bonus Damage from Essence Venom Strike -10 Soak
Attack 3 same as attack 2 with more post soak...

5 levels of Agg on Attack 2
10 levels of Agg on Attack 3]
 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
The unexpected nature of the series of blows catches Dex by surprise, and with the second punch, Tien can feel ribs shatter under your hand and Dex coughs up a mouthful of blood before he stumbles back and collapses in a heap. If both Dex and Vai get some immediate medical attention from the advanced healing Charms and artifacts available in Yu-Shan, it might be possible to save their lives.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Tien halts his assault suddenly with the last opponent on the ground and draws in a deep breath. "I can heal them... but not until these two have Soulsteel manacles on them. Any signs of other attackers remaining?" He looks to Jontom and shouts over the roar of chaos. "Any other assailants still lurking about?" He glances around the wreckage looking for the signs of Golden Lions approaching to handle the scene of carnage.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Jontom manages to raise up his head and coughs out, "No, the others . . . gone. Strange Exalts and demons. Out of nowhere, just after Master Chejop and six others left to . . . . go kill the Empress. He said that she was the 'Bride of the Ebon Dragon', and would have to be killed. He took the six best fighters with him to face <cough cough> face her in the palace."

As he talks, the scattered fires continue to burn, and you can hear the Celestial Lions and other spirit guardians of the city racing to respond.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Renna looks down at the two fallen Sidereals and shakes the blood from her fans. Keeping a close watch out for any other threats, she glances over at Jontom and Euphemia as she helps the wounded man. "Euphemia? Is he going to be ok? If so, Jontom, as hard as it will be for you, we need to know more about what happened here."

OOC Making a Per + Awareness roll to see what else I can spot. Only 2 successes.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Tien halts his assault suddenly with the last opponent on the ground and draws in a deep breath. "I can heal them... but not until these two have Soulsteel manacles on them. Any signs of other attackers remaining?" He looks to Jontom and shouts over the roar of chaos. "Any other assailants still lurking about?" He glances around the wreckage looking for the signs of Golden Lions approaching to handle the scene of carnage.
If you'd like, go ahead and give me a Perception + Awareness roll.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Euphemia makes a look of distaste, "I cannot defer the impaling, but I can take away his pain. He will live. Tell him to be careful - just because his wounds do not hurt does not mean he cannot tear them open." She separates the pain and suffering from Jontom's strand of fate and ties them off for later. [Peaceable Conclusion to take away Wound Penalties] That done, she moves off in search of other wounded.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
If you'd like, go ahead and give me a Perception + Awareness roll.
If it's not an issue, I'd like to go with Investigation for an active search of the scene for wounded, evidence, and anything potentially useful.

To save time, I'll burn 4m 1w for an auspicious 13 successes on Perception + Investigation.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Tien begins his examination of the room looking for survivors. Your initial glance shows that most of the casualties were from the multiple explosions that tore through the room. Only the higher Essence beings in here had any chance of surviving at all, and they were the ones closest to the front of the room where the worst of the fighting had taken place, and it does not take you long to see that there are no living beings in this room besides you, Euphemia, Renna and Jontom. Everyone else is quite dead, save for Vai and Dex, but they are dying rapidly from the beating that they had taken. If they are to be saved, you must act now.

It will take some time to be able to fully identify the bodies, since many of them have been badly burned or ripped up from the fighting and explosions.

As you search, Jontom nods at Renna's question. "Yes, of course. I understand completely." He looks around the room at the tremendous loss of life with a shudder. "I was in Abalone, in the Wavecrest Archipelago, doing some research when I received an urgent summons to come to Yu-Shan for an emergency meeting of the Chosen. I immediately left my work and came here, wondering what the meeting could possibly be over. Eventually, most of the Order were in attendance, and Master Chejop started out the meeting in short order by declaring the Empress to be Akuma and in league with the Ebon Dragon! There was much shouting at this point, with the different factions taking sides as to what was to be done."

Jontom then reaches into a pocket and pulls out a flask and takes a deep drink. "Master Chejop selected six other Chosen, from both the Bronze and Gold Factions that are universally regarded as the strongest fighters, and the seven of them set out to go and confront the Demon Queen at her palace in the Imperial City. No sooner than they had left than there were many explosions that tore through the room. I - I don't know why I lived through it. I guess it was just because I was seated next to a support pillar, and that shielded me from the worst of the blasts."

"When I came to, most everyone else was dead except for a handful of the elder Chosen. There were several Exalts of a type that I don't recognize that were fighting the survivors, along with several demons of the Second Circle. Gods only know how they were able to get into Yu-Shan past the Celestial Lions and other security functions. I knew that I stood no chance against such foes, so I tried to use one of my Charms, Avoidance Kata. It didn't work. I couldn't get away. So instead, I tried to run out the doors, but one of the strange Exalts was standing there, wielding a spear of Malfian Iron."

He looks down at the weapon that had him pinned to the wall and tears started to flow from his eyes. "I started to fight, but he was strong, so very strong. He flung his weapon at me and . . . I was run through, stuck to the wall like a bug. I thought for sure I was dead, but instead of finishing me off, the man said, 'No, little boy, you will live to tell the tale throughout all of Heaven. The time of the Unconquered Sun is now over.' With that, he laughed and walked out of the room with the other strange Exalts, leaving Vai and Dex alone with Moretta, and she fell to them as you entered."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Euphemia sheds a single tear for each of the fallen she cannot save. No more, no less. Wallowing in grief is a luxury not afforded Joybringers. Having found no survivors, she returns to Jontom and the others with a smile. "So. The Empress is likely soon to join the ranks of the dead. It seems all that is left to us is to help secure Heaven, begin to assess the damage, and prepare for the civil war. I am almost disappointed we will not be making one final trip to the Forbidding Manse to dig up the last orders." She pauses, lost in thought, "Jupiter works in mysterious ways."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
As Euphemia muses on this, the somewhat late response of the Celestial Lions begins to arrive in force. There are at least twelve of the Lions, along with scores of other spirits that act as guards along side the great Lions. They take in the horror of the room with stunned expressions on their faces. With their paws squelching in the blood of the fallen, the lead Lion steps forward to address the four of you, while the other guards fan out, looking for survivors.

"Noble Exalts. We received word from Lytek that most of the Essence Shards of the Sidereals have been sent to his cabinet to be cleansed and recycled into their next incarnations, including the one possessed by Master Keyjak. What in the name of the Great Incarna happened in here?"

As Jontom once more begins his horrible tale, two workers approach him and begin to try and treat his wounds, and another speaks up as he examines Vai's body. "This one yet lives, if only barely! She must be healed quickly or she, too, will die."

Unless they are stopped, several spirits begin to ply their healing artifacts to her, trying to stabilize the grievously wounded Exalt.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Tien takes a breather to recover essence while the responders attempt to stabilize the traitors. "Those two on the ground were collaborators with the assailants. Akuma even. They need to be cuffed and held for questioning. Don't go easy on them either. They are dangerous and seditious, take no risks with them if you can avoid it."

He sighs, removing a pipe from his coat at the news. "Other than that, you say Kejak got recycled? We're in for a bad time." He looks to Euphemia and Renna, other than Jontom the only surviving Sidereals as far as he knew. If Kejak had indeed perished, perhaps it's likely additional yozi agents hid among the seven chosen to fight. He forced the tactician mindset to slow for the moment, not eager to play into a primal being's game after such a calamitous homecoming. The scent of tobacco filled the air as the chosen of battles struggled to continue conversation to direct his focus away from the immediate carnage. "I believe I recall testimony that one of these 'strange' exalts said 'The time of the Unconquered Sun is over', any reports from the Jade Pleasure Dome?"
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
Euphemia blinks twice slowly. A successful infernal assault on the Bureau of Destiny was impossible, but cleaning up after impossible disasters was her job. You just put the impossibility in a nice little box and hide it away in a vault in your mind until you have time to unpack it, probably in a century or two. Kejak and the deadliest of Heaven's killers being defeated by some upjumped Terrestrial Akuma? That was unthinkable. Like hearing a Sidereal had been knifed by a mortal in an alley and died. An obvious fabrication. Ice runs through her veins. "They have made a mistake. They misheard the report, or Lytek is in error. They should - they should look -" She takes a deep breath to prevent herself from hyperventilating. Lytek doesn't make mistakes. Celestial Lions don't mishear reports.

"A bad time?" she snaps, "This is the <swearing in flametongue> end of the Age. They assault Heaven with impunity. They have the Sword. They have the Realm. Second Circle Demons and Terrestrial Akuma cannot do this. What does she have? Sweet Saturn, did we miss Solar Akuma? There are barely any mortals in Malfeas! How could Yozi cultists find one in Creation before us? They need not even aim the Sword, if they fire it enough it will tear Creation apart! We must petition the Sun for permission to fire the Daystar at the Imperial Manse. If he refuses we -" She comes up short and pauses a moment to pull herself back together and still her shaking hands. "No. The old man is dead and the apocalypse is at hand. First the final orders. We go to the Forbidding Manse. There must be a plan for this. There must be. And then we petition the Maidens to remove all the safeties."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Renna's blood runs cold when she hears the reports that Chejop Keyjak, the leader of the Sidereals, has fallen. It is not like any of the Order is eternal, and death will eventually come for them all, but Chejop? He was a dusty old windbag, but it is still hard to imagine him being gone.

With a slow look around the room, Renna finally asks, "How long will it take to verify the identities of the fallen? We need to know if there were any other stragglers that missed the slaughter, or if . . . the four of us are all that have survived. We need to get some solid information on what happened at the Empress' palace. How is it possible for a Dragon Blood, even one as old as the Empress, to defeat seven of our best when they are going into the place looking for trouble? They had to have been walking into a trap."

After thinking for a moment, she says, "I want to talk to Mnemon directly. How did she know that her mother is this 'Demon Queen'? Is she a part of the conspiracy to lead the members of the Order into an ambush, or was she just a unknowing dupe?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
The various guards around you move in quickly to secure both Dex and Vai, even as others are working to try and preserve their lives and keep them from joining the ranks of the deceased. The Celestial Lion in charge looks over at Tien and responds, "Noble Exalt, I have not heard any reports of disturbances in or around the Jade Pleasure Dome, but we will look into that." He glances over at one of the other guards and gets a nod in return, and the spirit begins to cast an Infallible Messenger spell.

As the Lion turns his gaze back over to you, he says, "While that is being taken care of, we should get the four of you out of here, just in case anything else might be lurking about in here. We will escort the four of you to a secure location. Noble Exalts, please come with us while the others begin the investigation here."

Walking out into the hall, there is a full dozen of the Celestial Lions and at least ten other guards in Essence powered battle armor waiting for you, all of which are very much on edge, looking around them as if there is about to be another set of explosions - or worse - about to take place.

With the protective cordon of guards around you, the four of you are led through the halls until you are in the section of the building that the security force use. One of the guards indicates that you should go into a conference room and wait, then he shuts the door, leaving the four of you alone in there.

Everyone, please make Perception plus Awareness rolls.
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
They really do not have time for this. There is no secure location. The Bureau of Destiny lies in ruins, and Creation is coming apart at the seams. And yet, when she clears her mind and lets fate guide her footsteps, she does not part ways with her escort. Truly the Maidens are inscrutable as ever.
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
Tien feels a sickness well in his gut at watching the Serenity depart from a chosen of Venus. He steps beside his blind companion to gently take her by the hand in spite of the tremors of conflict within his own spirit. He looks to Renna and with a mere deflation of concern beckons her to stay close, if only for a placebo of stability. "Euphemia. I- We, are still on your side. We have cunning, tenacity, and options. So, let's add patience and true Serenity to this list, ok?" He whispered in the most calming tone he could muster. "If the Sun's chosen weathered and returned from the Usurpation in the face of a world set against them, so will we. I know this is certainly far beyond what a word like bad could ever hope to mean, but I'm not here to complain. The three of us here know the others' innocence as a matter of fact and within a few moments I suspect there will be little and less in our way for us to begin setting the world right as we see fit." Admittedly, the silver lining here was incredibly self-serving, indulgent even to the point that the Cerulean Lute might even see the essence of such hopes pass through its prayer coffers. However, one could hardly deny the perks of a future where one held the luxury of advanced tenure over nearly all of their peers.

"We have a strategist and two incredible mystics with plenty of martial and fate weaving prowess and the eyes of the maidens besides. Don't give in." He urged with a gentle squeeze of her palm to begin his war against an ancient, pernicious foe. Fear. With one last remark to the lions of Yu Shan, Tien adds, "Alright. Let's be about our business then. There's more to do than time to do it in."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
It does not take long for the doors of the conference room to open up, and coming inside is the cigar chomping figure of Mor'du, the Anklok Dragon King that just happens to be the chief of security for the building. He looks quite troubled, and rightly so, because this disaster has taken place on his watch, and depending on how things go during the next few days will determine if he gets to keep his post or if he's going to end up in some prison somewhere for gross dereliction of duty.

Mor'du clomps into the room and thuds down in a reinforced seat that has been built to support him, silent for a moment. When he does finally talk, the Dragon King says, "I have just heard word from Lytek. Of all the members of the Sidereal order, there are a total of six Exalts that have survived this attack; the three of you, the one you have named traitor, Vai Kallen, Euphemia, and Rogosh Cax. [Rogosh is a mid-level Chosen of Journeys that is affiliated with the Gold Faction, not quite as powerful in Essence as the three of you.] A group of ships from the Aerial Legon has been sent to retrieve Rogosh and to see if he can answer why he was not present for the meeting, and we are trying various means to discover Euphemia's location."

"That being said, there is the question for the three of you here. How is it possible for you to have survived this attack? I can see that Master Jontom is badly wounded, but as far as the rest? I have already gotten word from the Celestial Lions guarding the Calibration Gate that you three entered Yu-Shan together, just as the attack was taking place. I do not wish to point any claws at you and make any sort of unfounded accusations, but you have to know that all of Yu-Shan will be questioning just how it is that you all arrived late after getting such an urgent summons from Chejop Keyjak. The hounds are already braying for my head, and it will not take the Celestial Bureaucracy to turn an ugly eye to the two of you. What have you to say for yourselves?"

Edited to redact Mor'du being able to spot Euphemia
 
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Rykon

Four Thousand Club
"That the business of the Maidens trumps the business of their chosen. They can take up their inquiries with Jupiter herself. None of us is of small standing in the fellowship and contrary to an apparently recent popular belief, there are in fact authorities that can and do supersede that of the Five Score Fellowship's leaders." The elder chosen of battles testified with a healthy dose of indignance, as if the lesser gods and authorities in heaven only now want to pretend their host commands ultimate authority when it suits them In their quest to pry into a tragedy that little to none of them had a hand in troubleshooting or correcting for that matter.

"Were we to be having this conversation yesterday, the thought that Chejop's orders could be trumped would be a weapon wielded to spite us as a mere accompaniment to a threat of an audit. They can take their hypocrisy and wallow in it while this world crumbles if they wish. Or, they can abdicate responsibility for the course of the earth as they always do and get out of the way of us doing our jobs. Quite frankly, I'm absolutely on the edge of my seat to see how a host of gods intends to quell a Yozi orchestrated coup of the very celestial order the gods made us win for them. How about you?" Tien concluded his statement with a scowl. For all his showboating of having a short fuse, he was quietly content in making it clear the blades of the Crimson Panoply are not too dull, tarnished, or cowardly to rise to the occasion of conflict.
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Renna lets out a deep breath, trying to maintain her composure. "I am doing my best to keep in mind that you have to ask this, and if I were in your boots, I would have the same thoughts and fears that you do. But I assure you, the message from Chejop arrives moments after a personal message from my Maiden, Jupiter Herself, saying that it was worth our lives to arrive in Yu-Shan before the time we did."

She then levels a piercing gaze at the Dragon King. "You can also let the word go out that Tien is not the only one that might take offense from being accused of being Akuma, so let that line of thought go right out of your head."
 

Random Word

Two Thousand Club
and within a few moments I suspect there will be little and less in our way for us to begin setting the world right as we see fit."
"I am thinking a host of Akuma may respectfully disagree," she observes dryly. She takes a few deep breaths, slowly exhaling through pursed lips, then smiles. "Yes, serenity. My job will become much easier. When things are at their worst, people find so much joy in the little things. It is a good thing, as I will have so many new jobs to do." She sighs wistfully, "I will forever fondly remember our four hour sabbatical."

What have you to say for yourselves?
Euphemia sits on the table beside Mor'du, leaning in to speak softly in his ear, each syllable hanging heavy with the weight of divine truth, reweaving fate as she speaks, "In this pivotal moment of chaos and uncertainty, every second matters. The cost of delaying the work of Renna and Tien when so much hangs in the balance outweighs the risk in permitting it to continue. I will continue my investigation as they work, and will support their work fully until and unless Jupiter breaks their alibis or this crisis has been resolved." [Social Influence with 18 automatic successes, perceived as the target's own thoughts if successful. If this fails she'll start pulling out heavier artillery.]

She slips off the table and walks towards the door, flashing the detainees a smile, "Come. He means well, but you have no time for this."
 

Rykon

Four Thousand Club
"I am thinking a host of Akuma may respectfully disagree," she observes dryly. She takes a few deep breaths, slowly exhaling through pursed lips, then smiles. "Yes, serenity. My job will become much easier. When things are at their worst, people find so much joy in the little things. It is a good thing, as I will have so many new jobs to do." She sighs wistfully, "I will forever fondly remember our four hour sabbatical."
"Hmm... dealing with the Akuma are the setting the world right part. This place, however..." Tien makes a vague gesture of the heavenly city around them while drawing a breath of smoke from his pipe. "...would be what's in the way. Much as we're about to get paraded through a montage of rank-pulling nobodies that want us to think they can make life difficult... We have a rather defining position of strength right now. They've just suffered an attack from Yozi agents. The very beings we were made to defeat, because these gods can't. We're their last hope and they all will know it by the time the verdict is made. I think a settlement for drafting subordinates to delegate our work to will be a fine start to inevitable negotiations."

***

Euphemia sits on the table beside Mor'du, leaning in to speak softly in his ear, each syllable hanging heavy with the weight of divine truth, reweaving fate as she speaks, "In this pivotal moment of chaos and uncertainty, every second matters. The cost of delaying the work of Renna and Tien when so much hangs in the balance outweighs the risk in permitting it to continue. I will continue my investigation as they work, and will support their work fully until and unless Jupiter breaks their alibis or this crisis has been resolved." [Social Influence with 18 automatic successes, perceived as the target's own thoughts if successful. If this fails she'll start pulling out heavier artillery.]

She slips off the table and walks towards the door, flashing the detainees a smile, "Come. He means well, but you have no time for this."
Tien gives a subtle nod to the helpful voice that doesn't exist while trying not to alert their detainers. "I'm sure you all are doing your best to control the situation here, but we need to move this along. I get the big wigs are still wrapped up in their game but we've got an active war front here in our faces now and little resources left to address further mischief. Get Lytek, Nara-O, the Maidens, Luna, gods even Gaia if you have to in order to rule on this but there's no time to waste anymore. We're leaving, there's just too much work to do to fix this."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Mor'du gives a glower as he 'listens' to the quiet voice in his head arguing for you to be released, but for a long time, he says nothing. Finally, he gives off a sigh and says, "Very well. Against my better judgement, I shall not stop you from leaving, even if there are still a great many unanswered questions that I have for all three of you. I would suggest that you have an escort with you whenever you are in Yu-Shan for your own safety, and do not stay in any of your usual haunts until the perpetrators of this crime are identified and brought to justice. Just remember that these unanswered questions are going to follow you wherever you go."

He then turns his attention to Jontom, asking, "Do you need some time with the physicians, Noble Exalt?"

Jontom shakes his head. "No. There is too much work to do, and just the three of us to do it. I cannot take time away from our duties to let some doctor try and nurse me back to full health. I shall recover in time on my own."

Mor'du looks at the younger Exalt with an unreadable expression, then says, "I understand. We all have a mountain of work ahead of us." He slowly stands, then says, "My office is, of course, at your full disposal. We will be questioning Vai Kallen as soon as possible, along with Rogosh Cax once he is brought in, and there is still the Exalt Euphemia that we are attempting to locate. I strongly urge you to use the utmost level of caution, since the terrorists that performed this crime were somehow able to get into Yu-Shan without raising any alarms, and we don't know if there are any of these perpetrators still in the Celestial City."

The Dragon King heads to the door and opens it up, saying to those waiting outside, "They are free to go - for now." He steps back to give the three [four, actually, since Euphemia is still there, hidden from sight] free access to the exit. "Noble Exalts, where shall you go from here?"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Renna looks over at Tien and Jontom before she says, "I want to talk with Mnemon, but first, we should try to find out just what secrets that Chejop was holding close to his chest. Lets go to his office and look around."
 

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